By Jeremy Davis
As Oklahoma searches for solutions to help fill the gaps in education funding, the Norman school district begins is entering the final phase of their most recent improvement bond. Norman voters have always been strong supporters of education and they affirmed their commitment when they passed the $126 million bond project in 2014. From this money, around $24 million was allotted specifically for improvements at Norman High School. With the completion of the construction process in sight, students, teachers, and administrators have the right to be excited for the coming year.
Principal Scott Beck expressed his enthusiasm for the new facilities in talking about the upcoming school year. “[Students] are going to walk into a school that feels like a brand new school…a place that is going to inspire the kind of learning experiences that are going to really challenge them and engage them.” Facility improvements go beyond the standard maintaining of facilities and create a variety of new learning opportunities for students. Improvements include:
- New College and Career Center with a new school entry, offices and additional classrooms.
- New Freshman Academy that will allow educators to provide specific instruction and resources in a collaborative environment for incoming freshman
- Renovated Learning Commons that features a 21st century library that will feature a collaborative learning environment, independent study areas, a coffee bar and more
- Renovated Video Resource Center that includes a green room, full-sized classrooms for media and video instruction, showcase area for Channel 18 control room
The process of implementing so many new spaces has come with its challenges for the school.
“In many ways it’s like renovating your kitchen while living in the house but times a thousand.” says Beck. Students have had to deal with limited access to areas of the school and the problem of navigating their ways to class through a construction zone. With school beginning back in less than two months, there is still a lot of work to do. Teachers will have limited time to settle into new areas and students will have the challenge of adjusting to new spaces. In time, as the construction crews pack up and leave, students and teachers will benefit from the new spaces and potential for learning in the coming years.